'People from State interacted with Mehdi on Twitter'

Police making efforts to trace respondents

'People from State interacted with Mehdi on Twitter'

Police have found that some people from Karnataka had responded to the tweets of the alleged pro-Islamic State (IS) Twitter handle, Mehdi Masroor Biswas, who was arrested recently from an apartment in Jalahalli here.

Police sources said they were checking people from within the country who had responded to Mehdi’s tweets and re-tweeted them. Some people who responded to and re-tweeted Mehdi’s tweets were from Mysuru, north Karnataka and a big chunk of them from Madhya Pradesh.

The police are now trying to trace these people and verify their antecedents. The source said that as of now, the police had not come across any follower of Mehdi’s Twitter handle @shamiwitness in Bengaluru.

“The biggest challenge is to decipher the direct messages, which is yet to be received from the people concerned,” the source said. These messages will show with whom he was conversing directly.

Also, he has e-mail IDs in different names and they are being studied. “It is a tedious process and will take time. Most of the tweets are in Arabic and will have to be translated before being analysed.”

Meanwhile, top police sources said, Mehdi was refusing to give the passwords of his other e-mail IDs, saying he had forgotten them. So, the police have asked cyber experts to crack the e-mails.

He is said to be giving various versions and making it difficult to investigate. The top priority for the police is to find out if Mehdi has any staunch supporters for his tweets and blog content in India, and if vulnerable youth were motivated by his posts, added the source. The police are yet to ascertain if Mehdi had contacts with IS operators and whether he had tried to recruit people for the outfit.

Mehdi’s lawyer Jaffer Shah said, “We have applied for various documents, which we’ll get in a day or two. Then we’ll decide the next course of action.”

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